We recently posted a series of blogs on rare earth elements and how the shortage of these elements will affect manufacturing in the future. One step below the rare earths are the endangered elements such as lithium that are also causing concern due to limited supply. Lithium has become important as its use in batteries has increased, especially in the automotive world. As hybrids and electric vehicles become more prevalent the need for lithium batteries are increasing, although supplies of the raw material are not.
One Ohio company is taking a proactive approach to the problem. Toxo Inc has been building a battery recycling plant in Lancaster that valuable metals from batteries at their end of use. The Columbus Dispatch recently highlighted this company in a article at the beginning of March. Currently automotive lithium batteries represent only a small fraction of Toxco’s business, but they are already planning for the wave of lithium batteries that will develop as more electric vehicles are sold and eventually retire. By capturing these materials through recycling we reduce our reliance on foreign source of lithium.